The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) has announced that ticket sales have been exceptionally strong during the pre-festival period. So far, over 12 000 tickets have been snapped up by eager cinephiles since the DIFF box office opened on November 30, and sales will only increase once the festival opens on December 10.
Shivani Pandya, DIFF’s Managing Director, said, “As expected, our gala screenings are almost sold out, like Babel and Kabul Express, but this year, people are also going for unique art house films, hard-hitting documentaries, and features made here in the UAE. DIFF is a great chance to see something you would never see at commercial cinemas. In the children’s programming segment, for instance, we are showing Valo, a Finnish film about kids who start an underground school, and The Robber Hotzenplotz, an outlandish fairy tale about two boys who go after a legendary thief with the help of princesses, fairies and strange animals. These films are an educational and fun way to make kids part of the festival experience.”
Ms. Pandya said that the largest availability of tickets is in the Screen on the Green programming segment, since the public usually wait until the day of the screening to purchase outdoor tickets, based on weather conditions. “Screen on the Green is a very diverse programme; there are two Indian films, Dor and Vanaja, alongside Pedro Almodovar’s Volver and the Oscars spoof For Your Consideration. Kids will love Princess Raccoon, a Japanese hip-hop musical about a raccoon turning into a princess, and The Ugly Duckling and Me, which is an animated, updated version of the old classic. If you are a spur-of-the-moment festival-goer, Screen on the Green is your best bet.”
Some of the films will have an atmosphere of their own: The Host, for instance, is a monster movie that has done extremely well in its native Korea, about a giant, river-dwelling lizard that wreaks havoc on Seoul. Its midnight screening on Friday, December 15, will guarantee a loudly appreciate audience, state-of-the-art special effects, and a thrilling ride home.
For those interested in the behind-the-scenes world of cinema, DIFF 2006 has a lineup of panels with celebrities such as Richard Gere and Oliver Stone, who will feature in the Operation Cultural Bridges Panel, on the role of cinema in intercultural dialogue.
Shah Rukh Khan will share his experience as a Bollywood superstar with audiences during a special discussion session, and producers Dora Bouchacha of Tunisia and Barrie M. Osborne, of Lord of the Rings fame, will discuss their long, distinguished careers in show business.
Complete information on all events and screenings can be found on the festival website, dubaifilmfest.com. DIFF’s third annual edition runs from December 10 to 17, 2006.